This is a pony that died and was dumped in a field in Kilkenny over the past few days.
The picture was taken on Monday, and the pony had already been there some time. Later that afternoon, the carcass was removed by the local authorities.
The animal was discovered lying in a field on Circular Road, on the outskirts of the borough council area. It had clearly been dragged several feet during, or shortly after, its final moments.
A trail, marked by bootprints, shows that it had originally been down at the River Breagagh nearby, where it possibly went for water. The pony’s bridle, a worn-out scrap of a blue harness, lay around three metres from where the horse was found.
The field is a ragged wasteland of mud, briar and stone. There is not much grass, not much pasture for grazing, little shelter from the elements, if this is where the animal was kept. There are no other horses in the field, but there are several in the lands across the road.
This horse’s body was, to someone, merely another casually-discardable item, an additional piece of, no longer useful, debris with which to strew the field. Happy to leave it there among the plastic bags, fast-food packaging, and old clothes, because they considered it no longer their problem.
The creature is not small, and whoever dragged it from the riverside did so with some degree of effort. Why drag it from the river only to then abandon it by the road?
No vet was called, and no disposal plant informed. Kilkenny County Council confirmed they had removed the carcass after a number of phone calls had been made to the environment department.
A spokesperson said it was policy to remove dead animals from public land or where they were visible from a public road.
There are guidelines and legislation for proper equine care and disposal of carcasses, but to some people living in Kilkenny they are an irrelevance. Was this pony mistreated?
Amidst the money and glamour of the Gowran Races tomorrow, (Thursday) it is easy to forget that there are many horses – away from the bright lights, but right on our doorstep – which endure far from easy lives, and equally sad, jaded deaths left to rot in a rocky field with the rest of the rubbish.